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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  May 3, 2017 12:30am-1:01am BST

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our top stories. ahead of crucial brexit talks there are signs of growing tensions between britain and the european union. following leaked reports of a very difficult meeting with european commission president jean—claude juncker, british prime minister theresa may has signalled the road ahead could be bumpy. in a phone call, donald trump and vladmir putin have discussed how they could work together on problems ranging from north korea to syria. they agreed to try to meet at the 620 summit injuly. and this story is trending on bbc.com. it could almost be the plot of a hollywood film, a surfer stranded at sea off the scottish coast in freezing waters, and a life saving rescue operation. this is the dramatic rescue, the surfer survived 30 hours with nothing but his board. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. my guest today nearly
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drank himself to death. he is one of the founding members of guns n roses, the rock band who became as well known for their bad behaviour as for their music. for duff mckagan that stopped when, as he puts it, his pancreas exploded. it prompted him to sober up, go to university, and now, alongside his finance column for playboy, he has his own wealth management firm. how does a bad boy of rock become a businessman? duff mckagan, welcome to hardtalk. thanks for having me here. tell us about that moment, i suppose it was the moment that saved you,
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when your pancreas just gave up? well, yes, i kind of found myself getting closer and closer to insanity as my drinking got worse and the drug intake got worse. i knew something would give. i even got to a point... the reason i wrote this book, so many people have asked me how did you get so bad? how many drugs did you do? to a normal person it would sound like a huge number, it would not mean anything. i wrote about the journey into my insanity. fortunately for me my pancreas did go, or else i would have drowned in vomit or something. you nearly died.
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you were begging the surgeon to kill you. the pain was so great. it was a real wake—up call. i was given morphine and lithium for the alcohol withdrawal, it was a general detox off the alcohol. i was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. it gave me time to think about how i got there. i saw things in that hospital. i am the last of eight kids. i saw my mother coming in, she had parkinson's. she came in and saw her youngest son with tubes running in and out of him. i was on my deathbed. she has parkinson's. i knew the order of things was absolutely wrong right there and then. i thought if nothing else i will make it better for my mother. i will rise to the occasion of being a good son to my mother. that is what started my upward swing. 0k.
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you talk about your pancreas exploding, you described it as third—degree burns on your internal organs. yeah, what it felt like to me... it started as a small burning pain. i did not know what it was. i thought maybe i had some gas or something. i was lying in bed and the pain kind of spread. itjust keeps on getting worse. suddenly, itjust went everywhere in my abdomen. i could not move. the enzymes that digest your food spilt out. how do you recover from that?
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are you still feeling the effects? that was 17 years ago now. they cut out part of your pancreas? no, they did not. that was the miracle thing. your pancreas expands, mine expanded to the size of an american football. the pancreas is not a large organ. it expanded and burst. my best friend found me upstairs. they took me to emergency. i knew about the effects of opiates... when i had the morphine and the pain was not going away i knew i was in trouble. the surgeon came and said that they would have to cut out some of the pancreas. and that i would be diabetic or whatever. that is when i asked, just kill me. the pain was so bad, the morphine was not doing anything for it. it was very real at that moment. everything was very real. it happened because of the drinking. you say that normal people just don't understand.
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the quantity you described, you moved on to 10 bottles of wine a day? that is when i was trying to taper down. and you swapped vodka for wine. i went down from vodka. give or take, many times give, a gallon of vodka a day. i was drinking ten bottles of wine a day. this is during the time of guns n roses, we are talking about years of abuse. well, yeah. there were a good two and a half to three years that were brutal. i was self medicating panic attacks that i had from my teenage years. i thought i would deal with my panic attacks when i have time. guess what, folks?
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rarely... life is busy. you rarely get the time to deal with that thing you are self medicating for. ifound booze could dampen down a panic attack. and i found it out fairly early. let's go back. 1986, you describe this in your book, it is an autobiography, it's so easy and other lies, you describe how one year in 1986 the group members of guns n roses are in a one—room rented flat, no money, a pretty abysmal life. you are ra nsacking the girls‘ handbags to take money. some of you are selling drugs, it is a pretty low of life for you, but within one year
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of that you have this best selling debut album of all time. that change must have been phenomenal? there is no how—to video or manual for what happens in your life when a record like our first record finally takes off. we all played in bands before guns n roses. we were used to punk—rock tours and living from hand to mouth, it was not that abysmal to us. we were just living. we had our band and we believed in our band. we were excited, we were 20 years—old. barely men. not even men. we believed in the group. we finally got a record deal and we made the record that we wanted to make. we toured and toured, one year later the record took off. and the change was quite amazing.
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let's have a reminder of one of those songs from that first album. 0k. # brave all the thunder and the rain. # whoa, sweet child of mine. that was sweet child of mine, that was at a time you were hiring private planes for your tours. in 1988 when that single came out, that is finally when the record took off. that went to number one in america. we were making $100 a week and then the records started selling. we came off that tour
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and i remember the first big cheque i got was for $80,000. it might as well have been $1 billion. i did not know anything about money. but i could not go to my elder brothers and sisters and ask, what do i do with $80,000? what is a stock and a bond? what is a savings account? what is a mortgage? what is in a mortgage? what is a loan? getting that $80,000 was just a windfall. that was the beginning of a lot more cheques to come. when you listen to that music, and you think back, how do you feel? i listen to that song a lot. i do not spend a lot of time looking back.
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going forward, my life's always going forward, i have two daughters, i have a business, i write two columns a week. everything is so much in the present. sitting down to write the stories in this book, for the first time i took some time and evaluated my thing, my life. how i got to that point. how i got out. what happened to me with guns n roses... and what happened with velvet revolver. all the bad stuff that happened, you always think it was someone else‘s fault, all
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the good things it was me involved. writing the book, i was involved in some of the bad stuff. one of the charges against the group was a charge of misogyny, in part because of the first album cover. a picture of a robot standing over an assaulted woman. robert williams. she is exposed. her knickers around her calves. and you were criticised for that. also for the lyrics, "turn around, bitch, i've got a use for you." were you guilty of misogyny? i wrote those lyrics for that song.
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it was very much a tongue in cheek song. not misogynous in any way. how do you explain it to your daughters? you have teenage daughters. there is a spirit of rock n roll that to me is far and above misogyny or homophobia or any of those things. there isjust like this primal sex. and rock'n‘roll are just hand in hand. how would i explain it to my daughters? you make the point that you are responsible for some of this stuff. isn't that spirit of rock'n‘roll responsible for influencing people in the way that they see things? um, ithink... i give humans a lot more credit. if something i write influences them in a bad way, which i rarely ever hear about —
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99.9% of the time people say to me, your music changed my life. it is always a positive thing. it is only one or two instances, usually something that happened at a concert, maybe someone falling in the mud and drowning, that is way more brutal for me. you had two fans crushed to death in 1988. at one of your concerts. the lifestyle that you were leading, the influence you must have had on people, part of it, we could not have made the music if it was not for what you're doing... what do you mean? there was one point at which he talked about, "we have to go out on the edge to get the songs that we got." i think so. yes, you have to live.
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for honest rock and roll you cannot imagine, especially the subjects we are talking about, cops and crime. it is all about the life... the drink and drugs were essential to the rock music? to our songs — i'm not saying essential to rock music, period. they were essential to that record that we made in 1986 that came out in ‘87. it was a record that spoke to an awful lot of people. i wonder if you think it influenced them ? i think we were just being honest about what was going on around us. i think that's why it spoke to so many — because what was on the radio at that time in rock music was just sort of a lie. it was sprinkled—up pop—rock music, and it wasn't speaking to anybody. it was speaking to little girls who were going to the mall. and there was a whole rest of us who were out there that were living this real life, and if you remember, there was a recession in the early
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‘80s and there were all these things that people my age lived through. we were this band — a lot of other bands like us were speaking the truth. there were great punk—rock bands and so on and so forth that were speaking the truth. it wasn't like we were making a political statement, or anything close to it. we just wrote honest songs about stuff we were going through. that it spoke to a lot of other people wasn't — were we trying to speak to a lot? we didn't think ten people would buy our record, but a lot more than that bought our record. 0k. when you look at the price of that — there was a moment, as you describe it in 1991, where you find yourself in your walk—in closet with a gun, ready to follow the guy you knew, kurt cobain, a few years before? we're mixing up a few different things. my addictions and so on and so forth had — guns n' roses made my life, in a band that got huge. didn't get any time
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to address my panic disorder, which was really the root of my whole drinking and self—medicating. so i don't want to confuse or certainly not blame guns n' roses or rock'n‘roll or anything that silly for my addiction. my addiction is my addiction. it was something i had to come to terms with outside of rock'n'roll. so you would have had the same addictions, irrespective of the band and the success? who knows? the only life i know is the one i lived, you know? i know addicts — a lot of them — in recovery that had wholly different experiences in life than i did. completely different. some that were stockbrokers. and some that were very successful, and still are. and some that aren't,
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and were never successful. who knows where addiction really comes from? it was fascinating to read the account of how you got out of it. the conventional route is via rehab. you didn't do that. it was mountain biking, in a sense, that first saved you? yeah. and that was — i mean, you shut yourself off in la and in your house on your own, and you just rode a bike? yeah. and became obsessional about it. well, i rode my bike because — for the first few months, i still had the shakes, so riding the bike was the only thing... i didn't know anybody sober, so i didn't have, like — i didn't know anybody in those fellowships that i know about now. but i just didn't know anybody there. so all i knew was i had this bike, and i rode it, and i got this sort of — at first it was like self—flagellation — you see the catholic parades —
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i felt like i was that guy going up the hills. kind of beating myself up a bit forfailing my mum, some of my friends and those types of things — my family. but it also started to make me feel whole. i was drinking water. i was doing really — i didn't drink water for like ten years. literally. i started eating food as fuel, like healthy food, and reading books. i watched a ken burns documentary on the civil war and got fascinated and started reading about the civil war, and ijust started reading. you also came across some financial statements in your basement you didn't understand, and were too embarrassed to ask anybody. and that set you off on this quest to understand finance, which is, in large part, your life now. it is. it is a part of my life. so yeah, i found these financial statements in my basement, and i was 30 years old, i was sober, i was —
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a millionaire. yes. and i didn't know what a stock or a bond was. i was too embarrassed to ask anybody else, really. and i didn't trust a lot of people in my industry. and i didn't have anybody to really go to. so i went to school. i went and got into this class at a community college in which it covered financial statements. i could take the information i got at class one night and take it straight home. i could be in class and say, "that's exactly what i'm looking for!" eventually i brought a financial statement, blacked out the numbers, and brought it to my professor and said, "i'm having a problem with this." he said, "they are misleading. these aren't classic financial statements. they're a little misleading." we weren't blatantly ripped off, but there was, um, commissions and things taken off in places that i would never allow to happen now. as i matriculated through school, i got very interested in academia. got into a school,
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eventually — seattle u. i didn't graduate high school, so getting into seattle u, i had tojump through a bunch of academic hoops — community college, junior college, taking math, taking things to get myself to the level to get in there. such that you were in a situation where your first playboy column — they approached you, you've got this duffonomics — you refer to "my love of academia — don't laugh." you love it? i do love it. i hope to continue at some point. i've been in the uk for the last couple weeks, and i love to work out, as we were talking about.
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i was in oxford the other day, and some guy tells me, "there's a gym down the street." i saw a guy in gym clothes and i said, "where's the gym?" he said, "it's down the street." it was the oxford gym, oxford university gym. there i am on the campus working out in the gym. i just love those places, those places of higher learning. my point is, i was in school, taking math — i wasn't even in business school yet — and i started getting calls from my peers. fellow musicians. guys who were in my shoes, who had made money, didn't know what it was, what to do with it. you don't want to make money in your 20s and 30s and be broke at 45 because you didn't know how money works. and also because, as you've said, the whole industry is set up for managers — they're not going to say to their rock bands, "you've only got three years of productive life."
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what manager will say that to an artist? an artist will say, "i've only got three years? i'll find a manager who tells me i've got ten or 20!" managers will shy away from that. you've referred to your luck, you're in a situation now where you're healthy, clean, you've turned your life around. there are others — people like amy winehouse — who didn't. is there any way that somebody can be protected and be saved, in a sense — stop what happened to her? no. you can't save a person who doesn't want to help themselves. there's nothing you can do for them. and anybody that was around somebody like amy winehouse, who maybe feels guilty or whatever at this point, or is placing blame on a manager or whoever — well, you shouldn't have allowed her to do that. she's going to do it. but you yourself, when you describe your own managers, say, "if someone entrusted with the health of the band actually cared about the health of any of us, guns n' roses would have been pulled off the road and put into therapy years ago." a lot of the book —
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i see the humour in the story, too. when you read the words — excuse me — yeah, if a dialogue would have been started, perhaps, about, "hey, guys, think about it." you use the expression "gold." they're interested in the gold. we were making money right then. there was a lot of gigs coming up that would make those managers a lot more money. they're a little less apt to say, "maybe you guys can talk about getting healthy, duff," you know? any chance that guns n' roses could — you've been nominated for the rock and roll hall of fame. any chance of a reunion? um, is there any chance? there's always a chance of anything in this life. there's a chance. my daughter might think i'm not the nerdy dad that she thinks i am right now in a year. she might think, "my dad's cool." so, who knows? you know, i know in this life,
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you don't know what's gonna happen. i don't know what's gonna happen next month in my life. duff mckagan, thank you for coming on hardtalk. 0k, cool. thanks. that was easy. hello. on tuesday we saw a big contrast in weather conditions across the country. the further west was the best of the sunshine as you were sheltered from the easterly breeze. in fact, western scotland fared best. wall—to—wall sunshine. a top of 21 degrees. cloudier further east, especially in the south—east. it led to a bit of a disappointing afternoon.
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but it was still fairly warm. through the night, contrast. breeze in the south—east. patchy light rain from the near continent. a visible weather system. lengthy clear skies in the west. a chilly start on wednesday morning. a touch of frost in the western glens and mist and fog. we start the tour in scotland. plenty of sunshine through the morning. a bit of a chilly start. low cloud through the central belt. it will tend to burn away quickly. lots of sunshine for northern ireland and the north of england. the north midlands since sunshine, as well as northern wales. some sunny spells into cornwall and devon. cloudy and disappointing elsewhere. some cloud big enough for light rain and drizzle in the south—east and maybe london as well. out on the breeze, quite actually quite nippy. through the day, there
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will not be much change. cool and cloudy across the south—east with further patchy light rain for the north and west. the further north and west, the better the sunshine. a little bit cooler than tuesday. a little bit cooler than what we saw on tuesday. a top temperature of 17—18 degrees potentially across western scotland. pleasant in the strong early—may sunshine. 12 or lower on the east coast, especially when you have the cloudbe the reason for the chill in the north sea coast is the temperatures in the ocean not more than 8—10. with the cloud, temperatures on the coast will tell disappointing for early may. cloudy for a proportion of england and wales. light and patchy rain. for thursday, a similar picture. plenty of cloud for england and wales. patchy light rain. feeling a bit chilly. the best of the sunny spells in the north and the west of the uk. a top temperature of 14—15. friday, the breeze picks up. nippier close to the coast.
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the best of the sunshine in northern and western areas. temperatures range from around ten to 15. the weekend. a ridge of high pressure keeping the weather system that day. largely fine and dry. chilly on the coast. the best of the sunshine in the north and west. i'm kasia madera in london, the headlines. as brexit talks loom — tensions deepen between britain and the european commision — there's a warning the road ahead could be bumpy. gearing of the conservative party leadership campaign and i was described as a bloody difficult women. i said at the time that the next person to find that out would be jean—claude juncker. it's good to talk. a phone call between donald trump and vladmir putin — where they discuss north korea and syria. i'm rico hizon in singapore —
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also in the programme: improve your service or we'll force you to improve it — that's the threat from us lawmakers to the nation's airlines. and — how free is the global press? we find out as the united nations marks world press freedom day.
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